For a wonderful - yet sadly discontinued-in-English-translation Korean manhwa called Dorothy of Oz that I love to pieces. Yup.
Disclaimer: Nothing here belongs to me, unfortunately...perhaps the comparisons between the various characters, but nothin' else. Everything here is copyright to Son Hee-Joon (and Lewis Carroll too), and not this Saya.
Summary: Because this is Oz, not Wonderland, and she is Dorothy - er, Mara, not Alice. Though the similarities are uncanny at times...
By: Saya Moonshadow
Sometimes she wonders if she's not really Dorothy, but Alice instead.
Sometimes to hear Abee talk, she is so sure he'll be offering her a half cup of tea and singing her a Merry Un-Birthday the next instant.
Sometimes to watch Namu fight with Tick Tock, she wonders if Tick Tock isn't secretly a thief and Namu the fierce, clawed guardian who will do anything to protect its most precious possession.
Sometimes listening to and watching Tail laugh, she wonders if he won't suddenly disappear, leaving only his smile behind.
Sometimes when she thinks of Shine, she cannot help but shiver and picture a monstrous creature that stalks through a dark forest, but at the same time, she hates him for what he did.
Sometimes to feel Toto curl up in her school bag, she wonders if he is not really a white rabbit in disguise.
Sometimes to hear one of the three remaining Witches described to her by Namu and Tail, she cannot help but picture a Queen dressed all in red, nor can she help but hear the faint cry of, "Off with her head!" and the shk of a blade being drawn.
She feels like Alice instead of Dorothy, having no idea where to go or what to do, no matter who or what is depending on her actions. She is lucky to have her three companions, her pseudo Mad Hatter, Gryphon, and Cheshire Cat (not to mention her White Rabbit), but even they cannot guide her. They can love her, protect her, and keep her busy, but she can never be certain if they are real.
Oz is her Wonderland, her dream world that she fell into quite by mistake. Like Alice, she just wishes she could go home, where things make sense, where not everyone has some sort of vendetta against her, whether real or imagined.
She longs for the familiar touch of home, of self, that none of the three can provide, and it's enough to make her crumble on the inside at times when she despairs of ever getting back to her own world.
Unlike other girls, Mara had never wished for something different. She loves her home in Seoul, Korea and never ever had any reason to want something more than what she already has. It is almost ironic...the only one who is content with her lot in life is the one who is given more.
"You're mad," she tells Abee, and he frowns at her, obviously wondering why she is telling him he's angry. He does not yet have as broad a vocabulary as she, but for once she does not bother to explain her meaning to him and stiffens up a little, flushing red, when he offers her a heartbreaking smile in response a moment later.
His smile is like candy to her; she loves to see it and it's always gone all too soon. The memory of it is nothing compared to the real thing, which is enough to make her stop and wonder to herself just how he manages to make a simple expression mean so much.
"You're protective," she tells Namu, turning away once Abee's smile fades into the solemn, melancholy look he's taken to as of late, making the cyborg give her a questioning look. "I want to protect you. You hold my life in your hands." he says, and she has no idea how true that is.
His singleminded intensity unnerves her; she wishes he would loosen up and show some heart every once in a while, but there's always that profound longing in his eyes whenever he thinks of his encounter with Tick Tock, and she is reminded that Tick Tock is indeed a master thief.
"You're strange," she tells Tail once Namu's unblinking stare becomes too much for her to handle, and to her surprise, the chimera actually takes it as a compliment, grinning and thanking her profusely. There's only one of him, and he is proud of this fact.
His overflow of emotion is overwhelming; he shows every little thing he feels, and it makes her more comfortable in her own reactions to things, knowing that his reaction would be ten times as volatile. But then there are the times when even he is subdued and she is reminded of a violin: the way it can be loud and cheerful or quiet and melancholy, depending on the mood of the musician.
"You drive me insane." Abee speaks up suddenly, and the look in his eyes is so intense that she is momentarily frozen. He is trying to tell her something, but she-
"You are my responsibility." Namu adds, catching her attention for just a moment-
"You're even weirder than I am." Tail snorts before she can really process what's going on, and gives her a playful shove which nearly knocks her over.
"But I like being insane."
"I do my job with pleasure."
"It's OK to be weird."
She can do nothing but stare back and forth between the three as they talk.
"But I'm lost. There's no reason for you to follow me. I don't know where to go from here." she says finally.
"That depends on where you want to go." Tail tells her with a smile, and she is hit with a strange sense of déjà vu.
"Explanations take too long." Namu explains tiredly when she looks to him for help. "You decide your own adventure."
"And we'll follow you wherever you go." Abee finishes, making her turn to look at him. That intense look is back in his eyes, and finally, she feels like she almost understands what he is trying to tell her.
And Mad Hatter.
Except not. They are not the Mad Hatter, Gryphon, and Cheshire Cat, and this is not Wonderland, but Oz.
They are her Scarecrow, Tin Woodsman, and Cowardly Lion, and she is not Alice. She is not Dorothy either, and she does not want to be. But for her story's sake, she might as well be, try as she might to deny it.
"Where do you want to go?" Tail asks again, and she finds that she can smile as she answers him.
"I want to go home." she replies, and his grin is wide.
"Then find your way there." he says. "We're here if you need us."
"I know." she says, and turns back to the road. It glows bright and yellow before her, and she takes a step onto it. And another and another and another, one after the other. Behind her, she can hear Abee's soft footsteps, Namu's clanking metal parts, and Tail's erratic movements.
Definitely not a Mad Hatter, Gryphon, and Cheshire Cat. For one thing, none of those three characters were there when Alice truly needed them, unlike her Scarecrow, Tin Woodsman, and Cowardly Lion.
For the rest of the day, she has a sense of somehow one-upping the concept of an "Alice in Wonderland", no matter how silly she knows it is.
AN: There we go. All done.
As usual, reviews would be lovely, so please let me know what you think!